Taylor T. Tracy

Taylor T. Tracy
Taylor T.
Outreach Coordinator
MITR Historian

Taylor joined MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Lab in April 2013 as an Administrative Assistant, providing administrative support to the lab's operators and researchers. In July 2022 she became the NRL's first Outreach Coordinator. In this role she continues to coordinate tours of the facility, both in-person and virtual, produces educational videos for the lab's educational outreach efforts and internal training, engages with students at MIT and in the K-12 demographic to promote facts and research happening at the lab and about nuclear science in general, maintains the lab's website, and thinks of new ways to make science fun. She received her BA in Communication and Media Studies in 2015 with interests in social psychology and marketing.

Taylor held the VP of Marketing position for the MIT Energy Club from 2018 to 2020. She also served as the Marketing and Communications Director for the 2018 MIT Energy Conference and Marketing Co-Director for the 2019 MIT Energy Conference. She enjoys writing, learning, and encouraging the curiosity of others. In 2020 she was a recipient of the MIT Infinite Mile Award for her contributions to the NRL.

Taylor has become the MITR's (unofficial) historian, digitizing internal documents and photos and combining a wealth of knowledge to tell the story about the people and events behind the engineering and research that gets talked about during lectures and tours of the facility (going all the way back to MIT President Killian's commencement speech in 1954 announcing his plan to build a civilian-use research reactor on campus). She STRONGLY encourages any former "MITRite" - people who worked at the MITR in the 1950s and 1960s (as they were lovingly called in the annual Christmas Letters from the MITR designer and first director, Theos "Tommy" J. Thompson) - or their relatives to reach out with photos, anedotes, physical items, and/or questions by sending her an email at ttracy@mit.edu (anyone interested in learning about the history of the MITR in an upcoming scheduled visit with their group can also reach out - bonus points for seeing this small note about it!).

One of Taylor's personal heroes is Tommy Thompson for the level of foresight and care he put into the design of both the MITR-I and MITR-II and for the contributions he made to the nuclear industry at-large. The actions in his engineering choices reflect his commitment to the safe advancement in nuclear engineering and reactor safety - one example being designing the MITR-I in 1955 with the intention of raising its operating power level without changing the reactor core configuration within the first 10 years of operation so as to not become an obsolete research facility (due to the rapid rate of research reactor licensing at the time). He not only made those upgrades feasible without knowing exactly what they would entail, he also thought way far ahead to the next core design of the facility and how the disassembly of the MITR-I should be taken into consideration of its construction to allow for an easier modification construction process without having to decomission or build a completely new facility. Thompson tragically died in a plane crash one week after the license for construction of the MITR-II was submitted to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1970, but his design was approved and granted the license, its construction was seen through by David Lanning in his absence, and the MITR-II is still the powerhouse neutron research facility they intended it to be.

Ask her for some MITR-I trivia if you have at least an hour to spare.